Two New Malden schools have been awarded the coveted “World Class Schools” accreditation, with judges deeming them to have moved beyond Ofsted’s “outstanding” rating.

Following a rigorous application process, which required the schools to demonstrate that they had improved student progress, aspiration and achievement to such an extent that their standards rival those of the country’s best schools, Richard Challoner and The Holy Cross schools were given the award.

Only 59 schools in England have so far been accredited with the mark, with the two Catholic schools from New Malden were added to that list in 2017’s tranche of 16.

Students led their respective schools’ applications, which included video footage around different school activities, presentations and reviews of exam results.

The students, as well as Richard Challoner head Sean Maher and Holy Cross deputy head Dervla McConn-Finch, proudly received their Awards on December 7 at the World Class Schools Quality Mark awards ceremony at Churchill College, Cambridge University.

Mr Maher said: “This award is a wonderful affirmation of all that our students do and achieve as well as the hard work and dedication of all our staff. We are delighted to receive this recognition and I would particularly like to thank the boys who led on our application. They truly are World Class students.”

Mrs Lucas, acting headteacher at The Holy Cross School, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as a World Class School. This is a reflection of our exceptional staff and students. Congratulations to the girls who were outstanding ambassadors for our school.”

The mark was set up in 2014, and it is hoped to recognise the changing world of work that students need to be prepared for.

World Class schools are said to “equip students with knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive in a challenging international environment where those who succeed take risks and continually pursue improvement.

“World Class students are educated to be active and effective citizens who have qualifications which give them choices, and the competences to choose well. They have developed a level of emotional and intellectual literacy which enables them to navigate a potentially bewildering plethora of opportunities and achieve success and contentment for themselves.”

Now Richard Challoner and The Holy Cross are part of the network of schools, their students will be able to take advantage of international partnerships and study abroad; access to unique work experience opportunities; access to a certification process and international opportunities that provide a competitive edge for places at the best universities in the UK and internationally.

Accredited schools must reaffirm their status every two years.